gra-dult-hood n.

1. A stage in life between graduation and adulthood.
2. Gradulthood often involves jobs that don't fulfil a graduate's expectations.
3. A term coined during the recession.

Gradults 0 – 1 FedEx

FedEx's Trafford Centre 'Drop Box'
Amazon is a reassuring online marketplace. When, during a routine browse one becomes distracted, wanders into an unknown URL and stumbles across a product that catches the eye, it’s standard procedure at Gradulthood HQ Manchester to pop it into to Amazon and check the going rate. Then, after its been cleared by the thrift department, a safe and hassle free purchase can be made. 3-5 working days later and everyone can sit down with a cup of tea at your doorstep, as life in the 21st Century is bliss.

It was this false sense of arcadia that set me up for an afternoon so furiously tedious that I’d have honestly rather have sat at home and discussed at length the business aptitude of every contestant of this series of The Apprentice – a show even more dull and predictable than an England friendly at Wembley.

It all started with a ‘sorry we missed you’ slip, from FedEx on Monday. That’s ok, it happens, although why these companies insist on only delivering between the hours of 8:00am – 6:00pm, Monday – Friday, when the majority of people are at work, is beyond me. You’re thinking, ‘but the delivery men are at work too’, so what? Restaurants aren’t open during office hours because the waiters are working, parcel companies should be delivering in the evenings and weekends, but that’s a debate for a different day.

I’ve called the 0845 number, spoken to the non-UK call centre and arranged for a re-delivery on Wednesday. I even explained to the helpful chap that, the likelihood is that all residents will be at work during the day, so it may be best to leave it with a neighbour. “Not a problem.” He reassured me.
Wednesday comes, and a second ‘sorry we missed you’ slip is awaiting me in the hallway. Are you really sorry? Just put a card through saying ‘we missed you, like we miss everybody, get over it.’ I reluctantly dialed the 0845 number again, and I lost my head: “I’ll tell you what mate, I’ll come and get it from the depot myself.”

I’m sure that big companies like FedEx have had meetings about this. They know that everybody will miss their parcels, and they know that nobody is going to spend a Saturday sitting on their sofa from 9:00am until 5:58pm (when the parcel will no doubt arrive) peering out of the window. They known this. So they all sit around, and think of places to build their ‘Drop Box’ collection centres that would be the most annoying, depressing and awkward places to reach in the country.

FerdEx has one at Trafford Park. ‘Oh, by the Trafford Centre?’ ‘That’s correct Sir.’ (He’s trained to answer that question in that specific way to lure you info a false sense of security). He gave me a postcode and put the phone down.

‘That’s right FedEx, I’m beating the system, Saturday is going to be all mine, and there is nothing you can do about it’, I thought riding the bus to the Trafford Centre after work. I hoped off the bus, google-mapped the postcode and it was there that it hit me. I’d been deceived. I was looking at the best part of an hour on foot… each way. Merked, no doubt about it. That smug little call centre operator had stitched me up like Rio Ferdinand was his mentor.

It was as I was crossing the border from Trafford into Salford, walking along a duel carriageway with no footpath, that I realised I’d picked a fight with the wrong company. What was I thinking? No doubt many have tried and failed to reach the summit, but I was one of the lucky ones. The final twist of the knife came when I reached the reception, to find nobody was there, just a lonely looking bell and an empty desk. Five minutes later I saw one of the enemy emerge. Ten minutes later than that, and I had my hands on the gold, the parcel that I no longer wanted. I could see him smiling as I signed his silly touchscreen. He knew he’d beaten me.

I left the depot, dejected, the return leg to the bus stop still to come. And all for what? A bloody laptop case.


  1. Ok, so this is one of my pet peeves and once I start (and granted I live a 20 min walk from a depot), etc... But I have genuinely caught one of the delivery people in the middle of what was essentially a knock-and-run with a pre-filled 'sorry we missed you' note. It was a proud moment when I caught him sprinting down the garden path.

  2. Fed Ex Delivery Man25 July 2011 at 19:21

    I'm sure we'd all do the same if we were FedEx delivery men - oh wait...